Absurd Imaginaries

Works by Julie Liger-Belair and Jessica Calderwood

January 11 – March 1
Free Admission | Mon-Fri 9-5 | Weekends during scheduled events

Opening Reception January 11 | 5:30PM7:30PM
Live music from Emilee Petersmark of The Crane Wives.

About Absurd Imaginaries

Figurative artists Jessica Calderwood and Julie Liger-Belair draw upon surrealist motifs and folklore in playful yet subversive explorations of gender, identity, and fantasy in our newest exhibition, Absurd Imaginaries. While distinct in their mediums and aesthetics, the two artists share more than a few similarities in their approaches. Both artists play with simultaneously revealing and concealing the female figure, a flirtatious dance between invitation and denial.

Calderwood’s near life-size porcelain sculptures of heel-clad figures are often overtaken by geometric masses of metal-sculpted foliage or gumball-like clusters of felt and polymer clay. Also, a jewelry designer, Calderwood’s love for embellishment is evident. Far from trinkety jewelry, however, these decorative masses of flowers or brightly colored baubles become like armor that encases the figure, masking and shielding it from its surrounding environment.

Similarly, Liger-Belair’s collages pair Victorian-era portraits with whimsical hand-painted floral and geometric patterns that adorn and camouflage both the figure and background. The rigidity of the women’s high collared garb and somber expressions are contrasted by the fanciful, dreamlike landscapes.

Jessica’s Instagram Page
Julie’s Instagram Page

Jessica Calderwood is an image-maker and sculptor that works primarily with the mediums of metal, enamel, porcelain and traditional craft materials like felt and polymer clays. She combines traditional and industrial metalworking processes with craft-based processes as a means to make statements about contemporary life. Calderwood received her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and her MFA from Arizona State University, with an emphasis in metalworking. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and internationally in curated and juried exhibitions. Her work has also been published in Metalsmith Magazine, American Craft, NICHE, Ornament, the Lark 500 series, and the Art of Enameling. She is currently Associate Professor of Art at Ball State University School of Art in Indiana.

Julie Liger-Belair spent childhood summers in Canadian wilderness, observing and collecting natural elements. These early experiences shaped her imagination and knack for combining materials. For the last two decades, Liger-Belair has collected Victorian era photographs and “cabinet cards,” late 19th century portrait photographs mounted on thick paper. She incorporates these photos into assemblages and mixed media collages to create what she calls “alters to everyday life.” She studied printmaking, photography, illustration and metal smithing at Ontario College of Art and Design. ironic and the sacred – to tell a story about the disconnect between our private and public selves. Liger-Belair is represented by Galerie St. Laurent + Hill in Ottawa, Canada.

Interested in scheduling a free tour and workshop for your students? We offer experiences for K-12.
Contact our Education and Exhibition Manager at whitney@sc4a.org

Download our Educator’s Guide, a comprehensive tool to further explore the themes and ideas in Absurd Imaginaries inside the walls of your classroom.